Monday, November 23, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Phillips is a provocative, lyrical writer, as evidenced by her early collection, Black Tickets, which I found alternately frustrating and thrilling. Buzz on the current novel is quite laudatory. As for Campbell, I know little, but I am happy the jury chose to make a nod towards a short story collection, and one from a small press, no less. That doesn't seem to happen often. Finally, Mueenuddin lives on a farm in Pakistan and apparently also writes lovely short stories. Yay discovering new voices! More books to add to my towering "to-read" list!
As for the nonfiction winners, I have only one question: why do the choices always have to be so "safe"? Never any lyric essays, experimental memoirs, collage pieces, daring reportage, etc. Just pieces about famous people and cultures and time periods we've already heard about a lot. Okay, so maybe I'm being unfair (probably). I just rarely skim over a list of the finalists for the nonfiction prize and think, "Wow! I can't wait to read that!" Admittedly, I don't read a great deal of nonfiction, full stop. Cards on the table.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I Yam What I Yam
Let not this tuft
of scruffy stuff
obscure the gold within --
that starchy, mellow
For though I be a humble
a happy tongue.
(photo credit: http://zoebakes.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/yams-vs-sweetp01.jpg)
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
To conclude a fairly art-soaked week, last night I attended Pacific Northwest Ballet's Director's Choice with my roommate. I've been so impressed and moved by the two productions I've seen at the PNB thus far and may very well invest in season tickets next year.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Last night some friends and I attended the Stranger's Genius Awards party. The whole Moore Theatre was open, and party attendees could wander into any nook and cranny they chose. We found the backstage dressing rooms and stood in the top row of the balcony and I got scolded for dangling a leg over the ledge of a private side box (complete with creepy dark and cobwebby corner). This greatly pleased the side of me that likes old churches and abandoned houses and high-up caves in the wilderness. A bit of urban spelunking. And the coatcheck attendant helped me put on my coat at the end! "Wow, you really leaned into that," he said. Yes, sir. It's not every day a gentleman (paid or unpaid) helps me on with my coat. Two thumbs up.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Genius design doesn't fall out of fashion. Fabulous is always in style. So love these treasures now and pass them on later. They're meant to be part of your life FOREVER."
This is part of Nordstrom's current advertising campaign for handbags and jewelry and other boring stuff. I flipped through a catalog that arrived at my work, and then reached this tagline. FOREVER, eh?
Pick out your open-casket accoutrements now! Be part of the brand that will litigate your will. Put on the necklace that whispers, ever-so-softly: "You can pry this out of my cold, dead hand."
Creepy, but it only gets more so with the next brand invocation:
"Is it a luxury to choose only what you love?
You know it when you see it: that perfect be-all, end-all piece that instantly feels like an extension of yourself - and gives you a secret thrill every time you wear it. It becomes your signature, your CONSTANT COMPANION."
Yep. Your CONSTANT COMPANION (by the way, these majuscules are all Nordstrom's, not mine).
Carry the bag that declares: I bought this stalker for $500. Cuddle your bracelet. Wear this coat around until it knows all your peccadilloes and sweat trickles and body crevices. Maybe wash it sometimes...
...but only if you can bear to take it off.
So, obviously it's old news that brands try to identify with women and convince them that they must own certain things in order to define themselves through the act of self-presentation. Things we buy are so us as to be an "extension"of us. How many "must-own" and "must-buys" flood the marketplace every day? I remember being much younger and believing that owning a little black dress was quintessential to sophisticated womanhood. Naturally, I was being urged to purchase said dress.
This specific ad, however, just seems so ridiculously over-the-top, what with all its creepy soulmate/graveyard lingo. The design of the catalog features fifties-style mannequins lounging-- red-lipped--in opulent jewelry, and I'm sure this throw-back to a previous fashion era is intentional: it calls to mind heirlooms we have ourselves inherited from the women of our family. Women pass on china and jewelry and doll collections, or at least they do in my family. That's part of our generational train of connection.
Doesn't it seem weird, however, to be urged to buy things that will make pretty gifts to our daughters when we are dead? Or to choose a product that's so "us," it has to be worn constantly (at least until the secret thrill is gone...um...yeah)?
If you look at the picture above, a bag provides the only covering for the model.
My brand, my identity.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
brother of chard,
sister of mangelwurzel.
May you dye our fingers ruby,
may you jewel the water boiled.
You smell of sweetness,
And you’ll be eaten,
So, that was Part Two of this great adventure.